Facebook May 18 launched 0.facebook.com, a new mobile version of the social network that is built for speed and supported by more than 50 mobile operators with no data charges for consumers.
"When using the mobile Internet, people around the world face two main challenges -- sometimes the experience is too slow to be fun and the cost of data plans and understanding them can be daunting," said Sid Murlidhar, a program manager for Facebook Mobile, in a blog post.
"We have designed 0.facebook.com to help solve these two barriers and we hope that even more people will discover the mobile Internet with Facebook as a result.
0.facebook.com lets users update their status, view their News Feed, like or comment on posts, send and reply to messages, or write on their friends' Wall just as they do on Facebook.com or the company's m.facebook.com mobile Website.
However, rather than making photos viewable on 0.facebook.com, Facebook conserves space by putting the photos a click away to keep the data processing for the app lean and speedy.
Moreover, users can access 0.facebook.com without data charges, thanks to the agreements with these mobile providers.
Facebook said users will only pay for data charges when they view photos or when they leave 0.facebook.com to browse other mobile sites.
When they click to view a photo or browse another mobile site, a notification page will pop up to confirm that they will be charged if they want to leave 0.facebook.com to look at other sites.
0.facebook.com is something of a cross between its m.facebook.com site and the Facebook Lite experiment the company abandoned.
A Facebook spokesperson told eWEEK 0.facebook.com is almost a clone of Facebook's m.facebook.com mobile Website, offering the same set of features and design. However, unlike m.facebook.com, which incurs data charges, 0.facebook.com is free.
By contrast, Lite was based on the desktop version of Facebook.com, albeit with a different set of features and design than the main Website. This leaner approach kept Lite speedier for accessing in countries that have bandwidth speed and cost constraints.
0.facebook.com and Facebook Lite share the same ideology: bringing Facebook functionality with as much speed as possible to people all over the world.
Facebook sits at the intersection of mobile applications and social network services, with 100 million of its almost 500 million users accessing the social network from their mobile phones. 0.facebook.com is designed to help the company boost its mobile user base even more.